Fantastic Mr. Fox Meets The Shining in an Animated, Cautionary Tale About Consumerism

In this short stop-motion film, Alexan­dra Lemay draws some cre­ative inspi­ra­tion from Wes Ander­son and Stan­ley Kubrick and leaves us with a “cau­tion­ary tale of what hap­pens when we don’t think enough about what we buy.” Pro­duced as part of the Nation­al Film Board of Canada’s Hot­house appren­tice­ship pro­gram, All the Rage fol­lows a mink’s expe­ri­ence shop­ping in a lux­u­ry fur store. It’s per­haps not too much of a spoil­er to say, it does­n’t end well. Lemay tells you more about the mak­ing of the film here. And don’t miss the many great films in the Ani­ma­tion sec­tion of our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

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Gabriel García Márquez Describes the Cultural Merits of Soap Operas, and Even Wrote a Script for One

The rela­tion­ship between lit­er­ary writ­ers and the film indus­try has giv­en us many a sto­ry of major cre­ative ten­sion or down­ward mobil­i­ty. Most famous­ly, we have Fitzger­ald—who grav­i­tat­ed to Hol­ly­wood like most writ­ers did, includ­ing the more suc­cess­ful Faulkn­er—for mon­ey. When we look at the career of one of Latin Amer­i­ca’s most cel­e­brat­ed writ­ers, how­ev­er, we find a very dif­fer­ent dynam­ic. Although Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez did not have what we might con­sid­er a suc­cess­ful career in the movies, his inter­est in cinema—as a screen­writer, crit­ic, and even as an actor—stemmed from a gen­uine, life­long love of the medi­um, which he con­sid­ered equal to or sur­pass­ing lit­er­a­ture as a form of sto­ry­telling.

“I thought of myself as a writer of lit­er­a­ture,” says Márquez at the begin­ning of the doc­u­men­tary Mar­quez: Tales Beyond Soli­tude“but it was my con­vic­tion that the cin­e­ma, the image, had more pos­si­bil­i­ties of expres­sion than lit­er­a­ture.” And yet, he goes on…

Films and tele­vi­sion have indus­tri­al, tech­ni­cal and mechan­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions that lit­er­a­ture doesn’t have. That’s why I said once, in a peri­od of falling out with films, “My rela­tion­ship with film has always been that of an uneasy mar­riage. We can’t live togeth­er or apart.” 

Film even­tu­al­ly need­ed Márquez more than he need­ed film. And yet he nev­er dis­dained more pop­u­lar enter­tain­ments, “pro­duc­ing more than twen­ty screen­plays, some of them for tele­vi­sion,” accord­ing to Alessan­dro Roc­co’s Gabriel Gar­cia Mar­quez and the Cin­e­ma. He even rel­ished the chance to write soap operas. In 1987, he told an inter­view­er, “I’ve always want­ed to write soap operas. They’re won­der­ful. They reach far more peo­ple than books do…. The prob­lem is that we’re con­di­tion [sic] to think that a soap opera is nec­es­sar­i­ly in bad taste, and I don’t believe this to be so.” Márquez felt that the “only dif­fer­ence between La bel­la palom­era” [a TV film based on his Love in the Time of Cholera] and “a bad soap opera is that the for­mer is well writ­ten.” Though his pro­nounce­ments on the cre­ative poten­tial of tele­vi­sion may seem pre­scient today, they did not seem so at the time.

In 1989, Márquez got his chance to write for tele­vi­sion soap operas, with a script, The Tele­graph tells us, “about an Eng­lish gov­erness in Venezuela called I Rent Myself Out to Dream.” In the clip above from Tales Beyond Soli­tude, Márquez gives us his demo­c­ra­t­ic phi­los­o­phy of the arts: “To me music, lit­er­a­ture, film, soap operas are dif­fer­ent gen­res with one com­mon end: to reach peo­ple…. In one sin­gle night, one episode of a TV soap can reach, in Colom­bia alone, 10 to 15 mil­lion peo­ple.” He con­trasts this with his book sales and con­cludes, “it’s only nat­ur­al that some­one who wants to reach peo­ple is attract­ed to TV soap like to a mag­net­ic pole. He can­not resist it.”

Márquez also served as the pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Film and Tele­vi­sion School, in which posi­tion, he said, “I can’t start by being scorn­ful of TV.” And yet the nov­el­ist’s regard for soaps was not sim­ply a mat­ter of pro­fes­sion­al­ism. “For me,” he said, “there’s no divid­ing line between cin­e­ma and tele­vi­sion, they’re just images in motion.” Ulti­mate­ly, we can see Gar­cia Márquez’s total faith in the nar­ra­tive poten­tial of all forms of pop­u­lar narrative—film, folk tale, the cher­ished telen­ov­ela—as an essen­tial part of his writer­ly ethos, which has tak­en him from the dai­ly scrum of the news­room to the Nobel cer­e­mo­ny stage in Stock­holm. “Ulti­mate­ly all cul­ture,” he says else­where in the doc­u­men­tary, “is pop­u­lar cul­ture.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Aki­ra Kuro­sawa & Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez Talk About Film­mak­ing (and Nuclear Bombs) in Six Hour Inter­view

Read 10 Short Sto­ries by Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez Free Online (Plus More Essays & Inter­views)

Lit­er­ary Remains of Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez Will Rest in Texas

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

“Bleu, Blanc, Rouge”: a Striking Supercut of the Vivid Colors in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960s Films

What’s your favorite col­or? A sim­ple ques­tion, sure — the very first one many of us learn to ask — but one to con­sid­er seri­ous­ly if you see a future for your­self in film­mak­ing. Ear­li­er this year, we fea­tured video stud­ies on the use of the col­or red by Wes Ander­son and Stan­ley Kubrick. Yasu­jiro Ozu, as Jonathan Crow points out in that post, “made the jump to col­or movies very reluc­tant­ly late in his career and prompt­ly became obsessed with the col­or red,” and a teaket­tle of that col­or even became his visu­al sig­na­ture. No less an auteur than Krzysztof Kieślows­ki made not just a pic­ture called Red, but anoth­er called Blue and anoth­er called White, which togeth­er form the acclaimed “Three Col­ors” tril­o­gy.

Jean-Luc Godard, nev­er one to be out­done, has also made vivid use through­out his career of not just red but white and blue as well. The video above, “Bleu, Blanc, Rouge — A Godard Super­cut,” com­piles three min­utes of such col­or­ful moments from the Godard fil­mog­ra­phy, draw­ing from his works A Woman Is a WomanCon­temptPier­rot le Fou, and Made in U.S.A., all of which did much to define 1960s world cin­e­ma, cap­tur­ing with their vivid col­ors per­for­mances by Godar­d­ian icons Jean-Paul Bel­mon­do and Anna Kari­na.

“Bleu, Blanc, Rouge” comes from Cin­e­ma Sem Lei, the source of anoth­er aes­thet­i­cal­ly dri­ven video essay we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured on how Ger­man Expres­sion­ism influ­enced Tim Bur­ton. This one makes less of an argu­ment than that one did, but tru­ly obses­sive cinephiles may still find them­selves able to con­struct one. An obvi­ous start­ing point: we con­sid­er few film­mak­ers as French as Godard, and which coun­try’s flag has these very col­ors? Well, besides those of Amer­i­ca, Aus­tralia, Cam­bo­dia, Chile, Cuba, Ice­land, North Korea, Lux­em­bourg, Schleswig-Hol­stein, Thai­land, and so on. And in inter­views, Godard has dis­tanced him­self from pure French­ness, pre­fer­ring the des­ig­na­tion “Fran­co-Swiss.” But still, you can start think­ing there. Or you can just enjoy the images.

Relat­ed Content:

How Ger­man Expres­sion­ism Influ­enced Tim Bur­ton: A Video Essay

Wes Ander­son Likes the Col­or Red (and Yel­low)

Jean-Luc Godard Gives a Dra­mat­ic Read­ing of Han­nah Arendt’s “On the Nature of Total­i­tar­i­an­ism”

A Young Jean-Luc Godard Picks the 10 Best Amer­i­can Films Ever Made (1963)

Jean-Luc Godard’s After-Shave Com­mer­cial for Schick (1971)

Jean-Luc Godard’s Debut, Opéra­tion béton(1955) — a Con­struc­tion Doc­u­men­tary

Col­in Mar­shall writes else­where on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

John Lennon’s “Imagine” & Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” Adapted into Smart, Moving Webcomics

Would John Lennon’s “Imag­ine” have been such a big hit if it had come from an unknown singer/songwriter instead of one of the most famous rock stars in the world? Impos­si­ble to say. Maybe a bet­ter ques­tion is: could any­one else have writ­ten the song? “Imag­ine” has become much more than a soft rock anthem since its release in 1971; it has become a glob­al phe­nom­e­non. Among the innu­mer­able big events at which the human­ist hymn appears we can include, since 2005, New York’s New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tion and, just recent­ly, a per­for­mance by pop star Shaki­ra at the UN Gen­er­al Assem­bly just before Pope Fran­cis’ his­tor­i­cal appear­ance.

It seems an odd choice, giv­en the song’s appar­ent anti-reli­gious mes­sage. And yet, though Lennon was no fan of orga­nized reli­gion, he told Play­boy mag­a­zine in a 1980 inter­view that the song was inspired by “the con­cept of pos­i­tive prayer” in a Chris­t­ian prayer book giv­en to him by Dick Gre­go­ry. “If you can imag­ine a world at peace,” said Lennon, “with no denom­i­na­tions of religion—not with­out reli­gion but with­out this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God-thing—then it can be true….” As if to under­score that par­tic­u­lar point in his adap­ta­tion of “Imag­ine” in the video above, car­toon­ist Pablo Stan­ley includes such reli­gious­ly diverse, yet ecu­meni­cal fig­ures as the agnos­tic Albert Ein­stein, Protes­tant Mar­tin Luther King, Jr., Hin­du Mahat­ma Gand­hi, and Rasta­far­i­an Bob Mar­ley, along with less-famous free­dom fight­ers like Har­vey Milk and mur­dered Russ­ian jour­nal­ist Anna Politkovskaya.

Stan­ley’s “Imag­ine” orig­i­nal­ly appeared in web­com­ic form, sans music, on his blog It seems that sev­er­al peo­ple took excep­tion to an ear­li­er, most­ly black-and-white draft (which also includ­ed what looks like the once-very-South­ern-Bap­tist Jim­my Carter), so Stan­ley issued a mul­ti-point dis­claimer under his revised, full-col­or ver­sion. He states that this “is NOT an anti-reli­gion/athe­ist pro­pa­gan­da comic”—charges also unfair­ly levied at Lennon’s song. Stan­ley does­n’t address the fact that most of the famous peo­ple in his com­ic, includ­ing Lennon, were assas­si­nat­ed, though this blog post offers a sug­ges­tive the­o­ry with inter­view footage from Lennon him­self.

In every respect, the com­ic adap­tion of “Imag­ine” hews pret­ty close­ly to Lennon’s call for world peace. In anoth­er Bea­t­les-penned bal­lad-adap­ta­tion, how­ev­er, things take a much dark­er turn. Stan­ley uses his per­son­al expe­ri­ence of near-sui­ci­dal depres­sion in his com­ic real­iza­tion of Paul McCart­ney’s song of lost love, “Yes­ter­day.” (See a video ver­sion above, web­com­ic ver­sion here.) This is grim stuff, to be sure, but Stan­ley assures us that he “over­came that sit­u­a­tion.” His com­men­tary offers a hope­ful take on the painful end­ing: “Look­ing at the yes­ter­day reminds me that I should thrive for the tomor­row.” I’m sure McCart­ney would agree with the sen­ti­ment.

For many more smart, moving—though non-Beatles-related—comics from Pablo Stan­ley, see his blog, Stan­ley Col­ors.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The John Lennon Sketch­book, a Short Ani­ma­tion Made of Lennon’s Draw­ings, Pre­mieres on YouTube

Hear John Lennon’s Final Inter­view, Taped on the Last Day of His Life (Decem­ber 8, 1980)

The Rolling Stone Inter­view with John Lennon (1970)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

The World’s Oldest Surviving Pair of Glasses (Circa 1475)

oldest pair of glasses

Above, we have what The On-Line Muse­um and Ency­clo­pe­dia of Vision Aids believes is the world’s old­est sur­viv­ing pair of glass­es. Dat­ing back to the 15th cen­tu­ry, the glass­es belonged to the Eighth Shogun, Yoshi­masa Ashik­a­ga, who reigned from 1449 to 1473, dur­ing the Muro­machi peri­od of Japan­ese his­to­ry. Both the glass­es and their accom­pa­ny­ing case were made of hand-carved white ivory.

Glass­es were actu­al­ly first invent­ed, how­ev­er, in Italy (some say Flo­rence, to be pre­cise) in 1286 or there­abouts. In a ser­mon from 1306, a Domini­can fri­ar wrote: “It is not yet twen­ty years since there was found the art of mak­ing eye­glass­es, which make for good vision… And it is so short a time that this new art, nev­er before extant, was dis­cov­ered.” In the mid 14th cen­tu­ry, paint­ings start­ed to appear with peo­ple wear­ing eye­glass­es. (Take for exam­ple Tom­ma­so da Mod­e­na’s 1352 por­trait show­ing the car­di­nal Hugh de Provence read­ing.) A gallery of oth­er his­toric eye­wear can be viewed here.

via Erik Kwakkel

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The Syrian Conflict & The European Refugee Crisis Explained in an Animated Primer

In a quick six min­utes, the ani­ma­tion above explains the ori­gins of two very relat­ed prob­lems — the Syr­i­an Con­flict & the Euro­pean Refugee Cri­sis. How did the cri­sis first erupt? How did it lead to a refugee cri­sis? And why should we why put xeno­pho­bic fears aside and pro­vide refugees with a safe haven in the West? All of these ques­tions get addressed by “Kurzge­sagt” (“in a nut­shell” in Ger­man), whose time­ly ani­ma­tions you can find on Youtube (includ­ing a sep­a­rate video on the rise of ISIS in Iraq).

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The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps Podcast, Now at 370 Episodes, Expands into Eastern Philosophy

m0003 540

Per­haps you’ve heard of a phe­nom­e­non called “pod­fade,” where­in a pod­cast — par­tic­u­lar­ly an ambi­tious pod­cast — begins by putting out episodes reg­u­lar­ly, then miss­es one or two, then lets more and more time elapse between each episode, one day ceas­ing to update entire­ly. It pleas­es us to report that The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy With­out Any Gaps, the pod­cast offer­ing just that, on whose progress we’ve kept you post­ed over the past three years, not only shows no signs of pod­fade, but has even broad­ened its man­date to include a greater vari­ety of philo­soph­i­cal tra­di­tions than before.

For those who haven’t heard the show, The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy With­out Any Gaps comes from Peter Adam­son, phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at Lud­wig Max­i­m­il­ians Uni­ver­si­ty Munich and King’s Col­lege Lon­don, and “looks at the ideas, lives and his­tor­i­cal con­text of the major philoso­phers as well as the less­er-known fig­ures of the tra­di­tion.”

The main show has put out 379 episodes so far, begin­ning with the pre-Socrat­ics (specif­i­cal­ly Thales) and most recent­ly exam­in­ing Fran­cis­can pover­ty, and now a new branch has grown, start­ing from Adam­son and col­lab­o­ra­tor Jonar­don Ganer­i’s intro­duc­tion to Indi­an Phi­los­o­phy. (Hear the first episode of the Indi­an Phi­los­o­phy series below.)

Episodes of this new series on the Indi­an tra­di­tion, Adam­son writes, “will appear in alter­nat­ing weeks with episodes on Euro­pean phi­los­o­phy.” He also men­tions a “fur­ther ambi­tion to cov­er the oth­er philo­soph­i­cal tra­di­tions of Asia (espe­cial­ly Chi­nese) and also African phi­los­o­phy and the phi­los­o­phy of the African dias­po­ra, but of course India will take a while so you’ll have to be patient if you are wait­ing for me to get to that!”

You can sub­scribe to The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy With­out Any Gaps’ Indi­an phi­los­o­phy series on its very own pod­cast RSS feed, or on iTunes here. Philo­soph­i­cal­ly-mind­ed binge-lis­ten­ers beware; you could lose a lot of time to these two shows. “I’ve been doing my laun­dry to it for months and I’m only up to Mai­monides,” says one com­menter on a Metafil­ter thread about the new series. “I am total­ly not ready for this Patañ­jali.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

200+ Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

A His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy in 81 Video Lec­tures: A Free Course That Explores Phi­los­o­phy from Ancient Greece to Mod­ern Times

Death: A Free Phi­los­o­phy Course from Yale

Intro­duc­tion to Polit­i­cal Phi­los­o­phy: A Free Online Course from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty

Col­in Mar­shall writes else­where on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Sylvia Plath, Girl Detective Offers a Hilariously Cheery Take on the Poet’s College Years

Con­ven­tion­al wis­dom has it that one’s col­lege years are the best of one’s life, a max­im Sylvia Plath: Girl Detec­tive, above, seems to embrace.

The real Plath expe­ri­enced deep depres­sion and attempt­ed sui­cide while a stu­dent at Smith Col­lege. Her fic­tion­al counterpart—-played by writer-direc­tor Mike Sim­ses’ sis­ter and co-pro­duc­er, Kate—exudes a pert Nan­cy Drew spir­it.

She jug­gles mul­ti­ple admir­ers, glows with self-sat­is­fac­tion when her poem, “I Thought That I Could Not Be Hurt,” receives an A+, and cooly holds her ground against stat­uesque and seem­ing­ly bet­ter-heeled class­mate, Jane.

It does­n’t mat­ter that it’s nev­er par­tic­u­lar­ly clear what mys­tery this girl detec­tive is solv­ing… the Case of the Miss­ing Tuition Check per­haps.

(Eager to stay on the good side of her bene­fac­tress, Now, Voy­ager author Olive Hig­gins Prouty, she bright­ly acqui­esces to a shot of insulin from a giant met­al syringe.)

I love how she quotes from her own poet­ry with an inten­si­ty that should feel famil­iar to any­one who’s ever been called upon to read aloud from “Dad­dy” or “Lady Lazarus” in an under­grad­u­ate Women’s Stud­ies class.

(Speak­ing of Dad­dy, Plath’s gets a notable cameo. Shades of Hamlet’s father, but fun­ny!)

This Writ­ers Guild Asso­ci­a­tion New Media award win­ner is sup­port­ed by high pro­duc­tion val­ues that range from tony loca­tions and antique cars to Sim­ses’ shei­t­el.

Find Sylvia Plath, Girl Detec­tive added to our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear Sylvia Plath Read Fif­teen Poems From Her Final Col­lec­tion, Ariel, in 1962 Record­ing

Sylvia Plath’s 10 Back to School Com­mand­ments (1953)

Lady Lazarus: Watch an Exper­i­men­tal Film Spo­ken by Sylvia Plath

The Mir­rors of Ing­mar Bergman, Nar­rat­ed with the Poet­ry of Sylvia Plath

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Her play, Fawn­book, opens in New York City lat­er this fall. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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